As if they don’t have enough to worry about, B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) crews also have to battle illegal aerial photography.
Crews responding to a new wildfire start in the Vernon zone of the Kamloops Fire Centre Sunday, July 9, observed a drone in the area.
Transport Canada and the BC Wildfire Service explicitly prohibit the use of drones of any size near a wildfire, and issued a warning and reminder.
“The operation of any aircraft not associated with fire suppression activities within a radius of five nautical miles around a fire, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), is illegal,” said BCWS on its social media platform.
“The presence of drones near an active wildfire can slow down or completely shut down aerial firefighting efforts due to safety concerns and poses a significant safety risk to personnel, especially when low-flying firefighting aircraft are present.”
If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft, the consequences could be deadly. In the interest of air crew and public safety, British Columbians are asked to keep their drones well away from wildfires.
BCWS could not confirm if the drone was associated with the wildfire that broke out Sunday at Vernon’s Ellison Provincial Park.
The fire grew to about one hectare in size with crews jumping on the fire immediately.
As of Monday, July 10, at 10 a.m., the fire is listed as under control with five firefighters heading to the scene for the mopping up stage. Vernon Fire Rescue Services also helped with the blaze.